Driver Shahzad’s photos capture the beauty of trucking

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“What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?” The words from Welsh poet W. H. Davies’ Leisure ring true a century later.

It’s always go, go, go for truckers. Few, if any, have the time to park and take in the views that roll by as they crisscross North America’s highways delivering freight. Their focus is on the next move as the clock ticks in the background.

Amar Shahzad is an exception, as he will stop and take photographs of eye-catching vistas during his travels. “I love the scenery, nature, mountains, moon, and stars. If I see the Milky Way, I will stop for hours to take pictures,” said the 43-year-old trucker from Brampton, Ont.

Picture of Amar Shahzad and his truck
Amar Shahzad and his ride in Bozeman, Montana. (Photo: Amar Shahzad)

It is also said a picture is worth a thousand words. If someone is looking for a picture-perfect safe driver, Shahzad fits the bill. He’s clocked more than 4 million accident-free kilometers (about 2.5 million miles). “I have not had a single scratch, accident, warning or ticket.”

Shahzad has been trucking for 19 years and notes that drivers are always rushing. They are cranky when they head out with a load, away from their loved ones. He added they rush. “That is not the way to drive,” Shahzad said. “Take your time on the road, come back safely to your family.”

Life has its ups and downs, and Shahzad has faced some dark times. He arrived in Canada from Pakistan aged 14 in 1994, along with his parents and two older sisters. Tragedy struck three days later as his father passed away suddenly.

Amar Shahzad's truck and the Milky Way
Shahzad has a ‘beautiful hidden spot’ beside the highway near Bakers, Calif., where there is no light pollution and he can take pictures of the Milky Way. (Photo: Amar Shahzad)

He is grateful to Canada for taking care of him and his family for a year, until his elder sister found a job. He also started working part-time distributing flyers door-to-door. After finishing high school, he went to college for a while, but the stress of providing for his family took his focus away from education. Already working a couple of jobs, Shahzad decided to become a professional driver, save money for college, and complete his education later.

He got his A/Z licence in 2002 and began driving professionally in 2003. He enjoyed driving so much, he didn’t return to college.

Sun rises behind the truck
The sun rises near Salt Lake City, Utah in the summer of 2020. (Photo: Amar Shahzad)

He recalls the first load he hauled. He was assigned to take it to Dallas, Texas from the Greater Toronto Area. “I was travelling at 60 km/h on Hwy. 401, shaking and thinking it was a bad decision,” he said. He made it to his destination, although it took longer than expected. He remembers crossing the border back into Canada and screaming, “Yes! You can do it!”

After working as a company driver for 10 years, Shahzad bought his first truck in 2013 – a “beautiful” Kenworth T600. In 2017, he started his own trucking company with five trucks. He owned three and two belonged to owner-operators.

In 2018, things went downhill. An owner-operator working for him hit a low bridge in New York City. His insurance premiums skyrocketed. The engine in one of his trucks died in Oklahoma City and he had to tow the vehicle back to Canada. The transmission on another tractor broke down.

“Every other week I had problems and was extremely stressed. My savings were gone. I never wanted to own a truck again,” he said.

His wife reassured him they would be okay, saying they have one son, and did not need much to be happy. He shut down the company and began driving longhaul for AMG Global, owned by his friend Ninder Shoker. He enjoys the flexibility to book his own loads and is happy with his wages.

Shahzad loved photography from a young age but got serious about it after shutting down the company.

Trucks roll along the highway near Grand Junction, Colorado
Trucks roll along the highway near Grand Junction, Colorado. (Photo: Amar Shahzad)

“I had two options – to either keep thinking about my problems and the past and get depressed or take my thoughts and energy somewhere else. When I have free time, I have something to do,” he said.

He is also a big proponent of taking plenty of time off from work, taking two to four and sometimes six days off between trips. Trucking is more flexible than most jobs and offers freedom. He advises truckers to do what normal people do. Go for a walk, stay active, and if possible, take up a hobby that relieves stress.

The poet Davies also wrote: “No time to see, in broad daylight, streams full of stars, like skies at night.”

Shahzad takes the time to soak in the beauty on the road while he works and captures images to create a lifetime of memories.

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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at

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  • Amir shahzad is humble and caring person. I joined AMG Global couple of weeks ago. My very first trip was to hidalgo Texas, like any newbie I had several questions popping in my mind simultaneously, Mr. shahzad helped me understand the route, planning to rest properly and most importantly careful driving was his focus all the time, saving yourself and lives around you on the road is more important than driving carelessly just to get delivery on time. I felt lucky and more confident in this industry when on my second trip my truck broke down near Springfield Missouri, I had to manage my log book both electronically and manually, after hectic trip as I crossed border into Canada at Sarnia I had my first level 1 inspection. Officers took great time to check the truck in detail and even spent more time on my log book . When officer gave tickets to another driver and put his truck and loaded trailer out of service, I feared that I am the next one but to my surprise officer shook hand with me and replied “you are professional driver”,
    That comment gave me confidence. I have No doubt that in passing level 1 inspection on second trip after having hectic days with broken truck, Mr. Shazad have all credit to take. Lucky me to get guidance and help at each step of starting new trucking career by such a nice and professional driver.
    And I wish him all the best for his passion of photography.

  • He is Definitely one pro driver I know, he can drive anywhere in the world and any type of vehicle. In general he is a super nice person, very humble and helpful to anyone. I met him few years back when I was waiting at a truck stop for tow truck to tow me to shop. He fixed my issue right there and there was no need of towing anymore. I guarantee you if you have any issues, he will let you know ehat exactly the problem is. Super nice dude. I Love and respect him.

  • Great companies are always made with great people and Mr Amir certainly is the greatest. An influential person putting AMG on the map. Absolutely a gem of a human being along with best friend and CEO Mr. Ninder. Mr Shahzad’s amazing talents in photography and videography. With such acumen his ability to explore the breath taking natural landscapes during his trips is mind blowing and certainly inspires others to get into the field of trucking.

  • Me and Amir go way back. Can’t believe he loves his job as well as passion of photography together. It is very rare you come across man like him who has turned his driving skills into whole new direction. Well done Amir, proud of you brother.